This is pretty dark and distressing stuff. Apparently Sweden does have some other cinematic export products besides Ingmar Bergman and Bo Widerberg. This strange and quite original exploitation gem by Bo Arne Vibenius recently got a little more attention (if only a little) because of Quentin Tarantino, who paid homage to this film with KILL BILL and called it "the roughest revenge picture ever made". For an exploitation-flick, it's not that rough at all, but it definitely has some very potent scenes but nothing really gory, and most of all, the blood and the fighting look so deliciously fake, I doubt anyone could take it as very disturbing. Most of the time, nothing really happens at all, but there's a certain atmosphere that makes the film strangely compelling.
A young girl (Christina Lindberg) is growing up mute after a childhood sexual assault and spends years working on a remote farm. After missing the bus one day, she is picked up by a seedy well-dressed man who kidnaps the girl, gets her addicted to heroine, cuts her left-eye out, and forces her into slavery and prostitution. Any other girl would give in, but not this one. She seeks vengeance, and, fortunately, has the weekends off, so she can learn martial arts, race-driving and military weaponry.
In some earlier comments I noticed people were put off by some hardcore pornography, which there was in the earlier DVD-release under the title THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE. Distributor Synapse decided to release the tamer, but still quite brutal, American version THRILLER: THEY CALL HER ONE EYE, which is the only version I have seen. I cannot imagine hardcore pornography would improve the film, so I suggest watching this "softer" version instead.
This is not a film for those who want fast-paced action, snappy dialog or basic storytelling and since the main character is a mute girl who doesn't have a single line in the entire film, it does require some patience. And don't expect any ingenious fight scenes because the girl learned martial arts. The fight scenes are filmed in extreme slow-motion, quite tedious. The film also bares distinction in having a very strange sound mix by Ralph Lundsten, who composed a very memorable music score that one distinctly associates with this film, quite unique. Needless to say, the film was made on a shoestring, but Vibenius does show cinematic flair in the use of locations (on Öland) and some truly magnificent shots. What about that shot with the camera on top of a police car between the two sirens? Sheer beauty!
Hard to compare this film to anything I've seen. Well, it's a Swedish revenge-flick, so how many of these are there? It's unlike anything made before at the time (and up till now, supposedly). A film with some - mostly budget-related - shortcomings, but by any means, a genuine original.
Camera Obscura --- 7/10